Apart from its enormous contribution to state revenues, the mining industry has a big responsibility in conserving biodiversity.
By understanding this, PT Agincourt Resources (PTAR), as the operator of the Martabe Gold Mine, carries out its mining activities based on the precautionary principle by paying attention to various environmental and social aspects in order to minimize adverse impacts on the environment and improve ecosystem balance. Thus, it is hoped that there will be a balance between business growth and social welfare and environmental sustainability which can promote sustainable mining.
One of PTAR’s effort is to protect wildlife. In 2021, PTAR held a Fauna Inspection Training to identify and ensure the presence of protected fauna on areas that will be cleared for mining operations. This fauna inspection training before carrying out land clearing is an effort to preserve and protect wildlife, especially protected species. The training participants were taught how to verify what types of animals live in the habitat and identify the best conservation program to ensure that these animals are not disturbed or even being blown to extinction when mining operations begin.
If a target species is observed or discovered during a pre-clearing inspection, the clearing process in that area will be halted until the animal is safe. So that, at the end of its operating life, PTAR can carry out habitat restoration to restore ex-mining land close to its original condition.
PTAR also cooperates with researchers, universities, independent institutions, and other third parties in the protection of biodiversity, especially through education and socialization, and by stopping the hunt and wildlife trade. Based on data from the Tropical Forest Conservation Action-Sumatra (TFCA-Sumatra), the types of endangered wildlife that are protected in the Batangtoru Forest, which is PTAR’s operation area, include Sumatran orangutans, sumatran tigers, serows, tapirs, sun bears, ioris, golden cat, slow loris, sumatran forest goat, sambar deer, hoops, Hylobates agilis, Symphalangus Syndactylus, monkeys, deer, hornbill species (Buceros rhinoceros, B. bicornis, Rhinoplax vigil, Rhyticeros comatus), and types of eagles (Ictinaetus malayensis, Spilornis cheela, Accipiter virgatus).
Apart from that, there is also the tapanuli orangutan which is a new orangutan species that was announced in November 2017. Previously, the tapanuli orangutan was considered to be part of the sumatran orangutan population which lives in the Batangtoru ecosystem. However, after further research on their ecology, genetics, and population, it was found that the tapanuli orangutan is different from the sumatran orangutan. The tapanuli orangutan is one of the fauna that PTAR focuses on. According to the Director of the Sustainable Sumatran Orangutan Foundation and the Orangutan Information Centre, Fransisca Ariatiningsih, the current population of the tapanuli orangutan is around 800, therefore this species is endangered. In 2021, the PTAR Biodiversity Advisory Panel (BAP) team 4 scientist comprising Dr..Rondang Siregar, Dr Suci Utami Atmoko, Dr. Puji Rianti and Dr. Onrizal, all highly regarded independent scientists, each with specialist expertise in the BTE, orangutan biology and conservation conducted an independent study to determine whether their mining activities impact the tapanuli orangutan. This Orangutan Impact Assessment Study involved a full review of previous studies and their results, as well as on-site observations and monitoring surveys.
In 2022, PTAR supported animal conservation efforts by providing helicopters and pilots to release two sumatran tigers named Surya Manggala and Citra Kartini to the Kerinci Seblat National Park (TNKS). Previously, in November 2020, PTAR also supported tiger conservation by facilitating the release of a sumatran tiger named Sri Nabila in Gunung Leuser National Park, Aceh. PTAR also donate animal transport vehicles and give operational support to the Barumun Sumatran Tiger Sanctuary, especially in fulfilling animal nutrition.
PTAR continues to coordinate and collaborate with other stakeholders in North Sumatra and South Tapanuli, particularly in Batangtoru District, including the local government and authorities to carry out and support various environmental and biodiversity conservation activities in a sustainable and responsible manner.